Mughal Emperor Jahangir once quoted "Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” to describe Kashmir, the Switzerland of India. That means if there is anywhere paradise on earth, it is here. Indeed, this valley on the lap of the magnificent Himalayas is a piece of heaven on earth. This is one of the chief tourist destinations of India. The most important places to explore in Jammu and Kashmir are Srinagar, Mughal Gardens, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Leh and Ladakh. Before entering certain places, the foreign tourists need permission.
Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most state of India surrounded by the Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The total area covered - 85,806 sq miles square miles. The exact location is from 32 degree 78’ to 36 degree 58’N and 73 degree 27’ to 80 degree 72’ in the East.
Kashmir has many legends. There is an ancient myth that it was a lake before, where Kashmir stands now. A demon used to live inside the lake and created difficulty for mankind. He was later on killed by Goddess Parvati with Maharshi Kashyap. It is said that the Goddess and Kashyap drained the water out from the lake to find out the demon, and the land mass which was then left is today’s Kashmir.
Kashmir has reminiscences of both Hindu and Muslim rulers. Later on the Sikhs also have ruled the land until the emergence of the British in India. The significant accounts of Buddhism and Maurya Emperor Ashoka have enriched Kashmir’s history.
Today, Kashmir is bordered by the Republic of China in its northeast (Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract), Pakistan in the west that they have named Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan; the rest are protected by the Indian Army. But whatever may be the reason behind the political unrests and tensions in the borders, it couldn’t demoralize the spirit of the tourists to explore Kashmir all throughout the year.
Your trip to Kashmir will remain incomplete without enlisting the sightseeing during the tour. Here we have picked some of the top listed attractions in Kashmir that you can’t afford to miss.
Kashmir is the land of flowers in the spring and snow in the winter. You may have a feeling that living in the houseboats and voyaging in the shikhara can be the ultimate to explore in Kashmir. But only after exploring the magnificent sightseeing you can understand why Kashmir is the Switzerland of India?
Sonamang means the Meadow of Gold- is located on the Srinagar Ladakh Highway at a distance of 2 hours drive from Srinagar. This place is well-known to tourists for the Thajiwas Glacier. Besides, travelers can get a chance to hike up the glacier to enjoy the thrill of trekking and explore the spectacular beauty of Sonamarg in total 5 hours. If you are not willing to trek or have elderly family members with you, then you can hire the pony services that will charge you INR 600 per person approx. Here you are free to bargain hard for the best deal. This has been one of the most popular Bollywood shooting spots for decades. Staying at Sonamarg can be the best option for honeymooners. There are plush hotels and resorts among which Ahsan Mount Resort and Hotel Snowland deserve special mention. Here you can enjoy the Swiss tents to glamp.
Locally, this is known as the Land of Shepherds, a three-hour drive from the city of Srinagar. The Amarnath Yatra pilgrims depart from here. July and August remain crowded as this is the time of the Yatra to Amarnath ji.
Tourists enjoy the lovely view of the Betaab Valley that was named after a famous Bollywood movie “Betaab”, beside the murmuring river Lidder and the snow capped mountains bordering the valley. You can take the vehicle up to a certain point in the Betaab Valley. From there you will either have to hire a local mode of transportation say a car or else have to trek. They will charge you INR 10 to enter the valley.
Top activities: Golf, angling, trout fishing and river rafting.
The meaning of Gulmarg is “Meadow of Flowers”, is the ideal ski resort of Kashmir. In just a two hour drive from east Srinagar you can reach Gulmarg. If you are not a “ski” person, you can trek to 13,000 feet up to Mount Apharwat to witness the spectacular panoramic views from the top.
The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa located in Gulmarg is one of the Top 10 Himalayan Spa Resorts.
Some other top attractions of Kashmir are-
Charar-i-Sharief and Yousmarg, Dal Lake, Nagin Lake, Gulmarg Gondola, Zozila Pass, Kheer Bhawani Mandir, Shankaracharya Hills, Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Mughal Gardens, Thajiwas Glacier, Sinthan Top and more.
Best time to visit: October to March
The Jammu-Tawai is the nearest Railway Junction that connects almost all major cities across India.
Srinagar is the nearest Airport to Kashmir. This is around 14 km from Kashmir. The airport is connected to all major cities in India such as New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and more.